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10 Key Milestones of the Evolution of Storytelling

[fa icon="calendar'] 09-Dec-2014 21:47:17 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Storytelling

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We are storytelling creatures. From the very beginning of civilisation, humans have told stories to transmit messages that needed to be remembered and retold.

The emergence of the Internet and digital technologies has brought about some significant changes to how we tell stories today. Blogging, Facebook, SEO, wearable technology are among the driving forces that have shaped the evolution of modern storytelling.

Over the centuries our need to tell stories hasn't gone away, I would say it's become bigger and bigger. What's changed though are the array of mediums we can use for our stories.

Storytelling tools and mediums

During the past ten years this array has grown massively, accounting for the most rapid evolution of storytelling in communications history and some new storytelling trends such as short videos on Vine or Snapchat stories that disappear in 24 hours. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on the PR business. As natural storytellers, PR people have had to evolve to and adapt new tools and channels to tell clients' stories and disseminate information.

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The Eight Principles of Inspiring Storytelling

[fa icon="calendar'] 29-Sep-2014 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Storytelling

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When was the last time you saw a presentation, visited a seminar or watched a speech that kept your full attention throughout the entire time? That's a hard one, isn't it? The last time I had such an experience was a few days ago when I watched Emma Watson's speech, introducing her HeForShe campaign at the U.N. Headquarters last week. Her words not only kept me 'glued' to the screen, but also made me realise that all inspiring storytelling is based on eight common principles.

It doesn't matter if we are talking about a speech, a video, an email or a social media post – all these communication avenues have the same purpose: to send a message. But to create and deliver that message in a way that really makes an impact and leaves a mark – now that's an art, and a science.

Apart from holding a game-changing speech on feminism, Emma Watson also taught us some important lessons to help us master that art and science.

Written below are the eight principles that, in my opinion, are the cornerstones of inspiring storytelling. You don't have to integrate all of them in a single piece, but they are a guidance of what your story should strive for.

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Masters of Storytelling: The Brands that Excel at it

[fa icon="calendar'] 11-Aug-2014 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Storytelling

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Every brand has a story to tell, but not every brand has mastered the art of telling its story in a way that is meaningful, attention-grabbing and long-lasting.

Just as people, some brands have a "way with words" – they are natural storytellers – while others find it a little bit more challenging and need to acquire the relevant skills first. Learning from the best in class is one step ahead at becoming a masterful storyteller.

But who are those brands that we can learn from? Who are the masters of storytelling? What do they stand for and what is their purpose?

That's what a recent study by Aesop tried to find out. It surveyed 2,000 consumers in the UK, asking them to rate companies against nine key storytelling elements:

  • unique character/personality
  • clear opinion
  • vision/purpose
  • intrigue (that urges us to learn more about them)
  • credibility
  • unique world
  • shareable, worthy to talk about content
  • entertainment
  • memorability

The combined ranking result is enlightening:

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How to Become a Break Through Storyteller [Infographic]

[fa icon="calendar'] 19-May-2014 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Public Relations, Storytelling

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Last Friday I had the pleasure of participating in a brilliant workshop about storytelling, held by Petra Sammer, Chief Creative Officer at Ketchum - the PR agency the company I work for is proudly part of. As you have probably noticed, I have lately become quite fascinated with storytelling. It is currently my most favourite writing, research and learning topic, so coincidence or not, the half-day training took place very much at the right time, fitting perfectly to finishing my storytelling post series (at least for now).

I absolutely loved the workshop! Petra is such a nice person; she's extremely knowledgeable on the topic and she definitely has a way with words - she kept us interested during the whole time, not just with the stories she had chosen to show us, but the way she presented them.

Thinking about how best to present my impressions and considering one major takeaway from the session - the growing power of visual storytelling - I got a little creative myself. Making use of some of the slides from the workshop and the notes I made, I put together an infographic that summarises the key learnings from the training. You can see it at the end of this piece.

As I couldn't put absolutely everything in the infographic, here are a few more attention getters:

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Storytelling Must-Haves: The Art of Innovation and Staying Creative

[fa icon="calendar'] 13-May-2014 07:53:41 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Storytelling

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Now that you have learned why you need to harness to power of storytelling, how to create the perfect social media posts and how long each piece of content should be, it's time to get to the creative bit. Just knowing what you have to do is not enough. Execution is required too. You need to sit down and actually create those powerful stories, and it's not just about the type of content or the platform choice - it's about word play, video play and visual play, i.e. giving life to your stories. This requires innovation and creativity, but there's one thing that often hinders that process - lack of inspiration.

That's what we are going to tackle today and so hopefully, the next time you need that creativity spark, you'll remember the tips and advice from this post.

Let's start with the art of innovation.

Recently Guy Kawasaki, well-known author and entrepreneur, held a Ted Talk exactly on this topic. I know I've been integrating quite a few talks and videos in my blog posts lately, but they are just too good not to share with you.

In his speech, Kawasaki identifies 11 cornerstones of innovation. Even though these principles outline how to be innovative from a business perspective, they can be used on an individual basis too.

His tips talk about innovative product and business ideas, so I've adapted them to serve our storytelling purposes:

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